Alarms and Detectors
Fire Alarm Shutdown Procedures
Among the causes of nuisance fire alarms in our buildings are smoke, dust and other particulates produced from maintenance and other construction related activities in and around University buildings. The responsibility for avoiding false alarms caused by these activities rests with the University shop, outside contractor, or University Project Manager managing the work. Minimizing false fire alarms is important as both a customer service (inconvenience to occupants caused by unnecessary building evacuations) and a safety (the potential consequences of people disregarding frequent false alarms) issue.
This procedure was developed to simplify and standardize the processes for requesting a fire alarm system shutdown and notifying both Public Safety and building occupants prior to beginning work. It is to be followed whenever a Responsible Party (RP) (e.g. University shop, Housing superintendent, custodian, outside contractor, Project Manager) reasonably anticipates the need to shut down part of a building fire alarm system to do smoke or dust producing work that might trigger an alarm (The more extensive procedures for performing “hot work” are covered in Section B10 Cutting and Welding Operations of the University Health and Safety Guide). Project Managers are responsible for ensuring that outside contractors and their sub-contractors are aware of and comply with these requirements. Contractors who fail to comply are required to investigate the incident and state in writing, within three (3) business days, the cause of the alarm and the steps they are taking to preclude such incidents in the future. This report shall be sent to the University Fire Marshal and Office of Vice President for Facilities.. For University employees, repeated failure to execute this procedure will be considered a job performance issue.
To Request a Fire Alarm System Shutdown
All fire alarm system shutdown requests must be submitted to the Facilities Service Center (firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (609) 258-8000) no later than 3:00 p.m. of the business day before the work is scheduled to take place. For Monday shutdowns the request must be submitted by 3:00 p.m. the previous Friday. Shutdowns needed beyond normal business hours (7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) require earlier submission and direct coordination with the Alarm Shop to arrange their availability. Leave a message for the Alarm Shop by calling the Facilities Service Center.
Notifications required for shutdown and reactivation
Prior to the day of the shutdown (by no later than 3:00 p.m. the previous day), the requesting party must notify the Facilities Service Center. The Facilities Service Center will then notify the building Emergency Coordinator of:
- The time and duration of the alarm shutdown
- The extent to which the shutdown affects alarm coverage in the building
- The need to immediately notify Public Safety and building occupants of any smoke or fire during the shutdown.
Notification to Restore System
When the work is complete and the system can be restored without alarming, the requesting party shall notify the Facilities Service Center, who will then coordinate the action with the Alarm Shop. If the job goes beyond normal business hours the Facilities Service Center will notify Public Safety that Public Safety will be notified when the system is restored.
Notification to Building Occupants
After the system is restored by the Alarm Shop, Public Safety will notify the Facilities Service Center, and the Facilities Service Center will notify the building occupants that the system is operational. If the job goes beyond the normal business hours Public Safety will notify the building occupants that the system is operational.
Fire Watch Requirements During an Alarm System Shutdown
The Alarm Shop in conjunction with the Fire Marshal will determine the appropriate alarm system isolation method and the extent of any required fire watch in accordance with the following guidelines:
- Buildings with Addressable Fire Alarm Systems
The active detectors adjacent to the work area eliminate the need for a fire watch.
- Buildings with other than addressable systems, except those containing sleeping quarters
- When fully occupied and notified of the shutdown, (e.g. during normal work hours) the occupants constitute a fire watch.
- When not fully occupied (e.g. weekends, before normal work hours), an active fire watch is required per the Public Safety “Fire Watch” policy. RP must coordinate the fire watch details with the Fire Marshal.
- Buildings containing sleeping quarters that are not protected by addressable fire alarm systems
An active fire watch is required per the Public Safety “Fire Watch” policy. RP must coordinate the fire watch details with the Fire Marshal.
Sequence of events on the day of work:
- Alarm Shop isolates the space, tags the panel and notifies Public Safety
- RP confirms the isolation (shutdown) has been accomplished by contacting Public Safety or confirming the panel is tagged.
- RP completes work.
- RP notifies Customer Service to have the Alarm Shop reactivate the system.
- Customer Service notifies Alarm Shop to reactivate.
- Alarm Shop reactivates and notifies Public Safety.
- Public Safety notifies Customer Service that the system is reactivated.
- Customer Service notifies occupants of completion.